The Health and Safety Authority today issued advice to employers and workers in relation to the SARS virus.
HSA Director of Occupational Medical Services, Dr. Dan Murphy stated, "SARS means Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome. The symptoms of SARS are: a high fever, in excess of 38°c and one or more respiratory symptoms including coughing, shortness of breath and/or difficulty in breathing. The incubation period is about ten days."
"Parts of China, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore and Canada are among the known infected areas at present. Employees returning from these areas should not return to work if they have developed a fever, in excess of 38°c, or have been in close contact with a known case of SARS. They should immediately contact their GP."
"Otherwise, employees may return to work with a warning to monitor themselves for any symptoms. These workers should be briefed on the signs and symptoms of SARS."
"The HSA strongly advises that employees should not be asked to visit infected areas on either business or pleasure."
"Marine workers, airport and airline staff and any other employees with regular contact with people from infected areas should ask their employers to update the risk assessment in the light of SARS threat. Biological hazards, such as SARS, should be dealt with in line with the risk assessments required by the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act and in particular the 1994 Regulations in relation to biological agents."
Dr. Murphy stated that the HSA was closely monitoring the SARS situation in conjunction with other public bodies and would update advice in the light of any new developments.
Visit the HSA Website for more Information on Sars
If you have RealAudio - As broadcast on RTE Morning Ireland - listen to Kevin Donovan, of the Toronto 'Star', detailing the manner in which the SARS outbreak started and spread in the early stages. This is scary stuff but demonstrates how contagious SARS can be.
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